Things To Do In London In August If You Like Comics

August 1st-3rd

Blood And Roses: Magical Girls By Sally Jane Thompson exhibition

Orbital Comics

Sally Jane Thompson

Saturday 2nd, 3pm-4pm

Doctor Who Signing

Forbidden Planet 

Rob Williams, Al Ewing and Des Taylor will be signing the first issues of the 10th and 11th Doctor Who Comics, including Forbidden Planet's exclusive versions.

Friday 9th Open Night, and Saturday 9th onwards

Orbital Comics

Lords Of Infinity Exhibition

Lords of Infinity

The work of Cristian OrtizAndy Poyiadgi and James Harvey

Wednesday 13th, 11am to 2pm and then again from 4 to 7pm

The Graveyard Orbit Launch And Signing

Orbital Comics


John-Paul Kamath, creator of the London Horror Comic will be at Orbital this August to launch his new series, Graveyard Orbit. The first 25 customers who buy Graveyard Orbit #1 at will also get a limited edition print.

Thursday 14th,


Underground Comics Go Mainstream: Has Digital Distribution Widened or Saturated the Audience?

Loncon, ExCel, Capital Suite 5

With the advent of web comics and the online distribution of comics via the likes of ComiXology, have underground comics gone mainstream? Creators of indie comic books can theoretically reach international audiences, but do they have the time and resources to compete with the thousands of other small press offerings seeking the same market? Are creators free to create as they wish now or are other pressures coming to bear on their time and choice of work? Does a subversive, independent comic book scene exist?

3pm -4.30pm

Experimenting with Comics

Loncon, ExCel, Capital Suite 15

Join comic creator Karrie Fransman (The Guardian, The Times, The House that Groaned) to explore the history of sequential art from the Bayeux tapestry to Grayson Perry's tapestries and from printed to digital comics, and discover why we're entering a golden age of visual storytelling.


The Superhero-Industrial Complex

Loncon, ExCel,  Capital Suite 7+12

The creation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been one of the most exciting pop culture developments of the last decade – and contradicts the decades-long strategy, followed primarily by DC, of keeping superheroes in their own worlds for their screen incarnations. Now DC have plans to follow Marvel's lead (and Sony are developing an entire Spider-verse), but will the "Marvel megafranchise model" work for others? Does an interconnected universe imply certain kinds of stories and not others? What are the advantages of solo films? And how are different studios using other media – in particular, TV – to further develop their properties?


Seconds Launch Party with Bryan Lee O'Malley

Gosh Comics!

Bryan Lee O'Malley launch poster | Gosh Comics London

Friday 15th

11am -Noon

British Comics: Influences and Influencers

Loncon, ExCel, Capital Suite 4

130 years ago the emergence of Ally Sloper's Half Holiday saw the first comic book (as we recognise it) published in the UK. Since then the medium has gone through many cycles of expansion and contraction.

What comic books from outside the UK have been influential upon the development of comic books here – artistically, politically, and thematically?

And how have British comic creators and stories in turn exerted their influence upon the comic book industries in other countries?

Is there a recognisable British comic book tradition? And how is it changing and adapting in an instant, connected world with a multitude of styles and visions?


Manga Evolutions

Loncon, ExCel, Capital Suite 2

Manga developed in Japan as a syncretic reaction to American comic books from an indigenous art perspective, to become a unique style of sequential art.

Manga has since emerged from Japan to become a vibrant style adopted by creators in other countries.

What are the more interesting and existing transformations that Manga has undergone in Japan, and outside its birthplace? What is the future of Manga as an art expression in the 21st century?


Diversity in Comic Books: The Good, The Bad, and the Missing

Loncon, ExCel, Capital Suite 8

A discussion about how the comic book industry is progressing – or not – regarding diversity of comic book characters, and comic book creators. What comic book titles and publishers are moving into new territories regarding their characters' race, gender, sexuality, nationality and/or physical ability? What creators and publishers offer hope for a more inclusive comic book world, both behind the scene and on the pages? What publishers and creators continue to let down expectations? And who are the missing: those who are rarely drawn in comic books?


Comics Jam Session with Sarah McIntyre!

Loncon, ExCel, Capital Suite 3

Discover new drawing skills, learn professional comics making tips, and get ideas for coming up with fresh drawings and stories. Create your own new character, then release it into the wild in this fun, interactive comics game. Be sure to bring along your questions!
Please note that children will be given priority to participate in this child-friendly session.


Best 21st Century Comics: Predicting the New Classics

Loncon, ExCel, Capital Suite 13

Which comics published in the 21st century will be quoted as the 'classics' in the decades to come? Will Y: The Last Man, Saga, Attack on Titan, Lazarus, Ms. Marvel, Grandville, Snowpiercer, or The Wake be remembered by future readers? What are your bets for the titles 22nd century comic book aficionados will consider comic book canon?


What is Art in the 21st Century?

Loncon, ExCel, Capital Suite 13

How do the Internet, social media, and proliferation and sharing of visual art online affect artists today?

Are the old distinctions in art – between 'high' and 'low' – still relevant in a multi-media/multi-discipline world, or are they only kept alive by moribund institutions? And where are the new artforms emerging in the 21st century? What inspires and frustrates the modern artist today?


Digital Comics

Loncon, ExCel, Capital Suite 6
Academics give three presentations with opportunities for Q&A with the audience.
  • Thomas Wellmann, ""Fraq on to your real": How Digital Comics lift the Body into Cyberspace"

  • E. Scott Denison, "Design fiction as a means of provoking individual foresight and participation in today's decision making."

  • David Sweeney, "'I Cannot March Up and Down Their Ranks…' Collecting, Reading and Owning Digital Comics"


Bryan Lee O'Malley, part of the COMICA Festival Weekend.

Conference Centre, British Library £8, (£6 Over 60s) and £5.  Book now.

Bryan Lee O'Malley by Seth Kushner

7pm – 8pm

Comic Book Networking: It's Not Just The Interwebs

Loncon, ExCel, Capital Suite 3

Maura McHugh, Lynda Rucker, Yen Ooi, Meg Frank

Social media – Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter – are all de rigeur for networking for creators and fans, but what about all the other ways to meet your audience, your favourite creators, or just to talk to people about comic books?

What are the benefits of comic book reading groups, conventions, comic book jams/drawing sessions, or networking meetings like Laydeez do Comics?

In a virtual world, there's still a lot of meeting face-to-face going on.

8pm – 9pm

Kapow! Best Comic Book Cosplays

Loncon, ExCel, Capital Suite 4

Stephen Nelson, Ric Bretschneider

A discussion of the best cosplays based on comic book characters.


Drawing the [redacted]: comics and censorship

Loncon, ExCel, Capital Suite 11

Jude Roberts. The history of comics is a history of censorship. This talk will look at some of the most interesting events in comics' history: from Frederick Werthem's The Seduction of the Innocent leading to the introduction of the Comics Code in the US to crackdowns on the fan products of Fujoshi (rotten girls) in Japan and China, from the blocking of erotic webcomics in India to the trials of Oz and Nasty Tales in the UK and the many many seizures of comics by international border police. Come find out what's so obscene about comics and why they have been deemed liable to deprave and corrupt across the world. This talk will include discussion and images of comics depicting explicit sex, violence and other controversial themes.

Saturday 16th, 11am-5pm

Comica Comiket

British Library, Entrance Hall, Part of the COMICA Festival Weekend.

A Cavalcade of Crazy Cartoonists will razzle-dazzle us all by drawing live, projected onto big plasma screens in the Comica Drawing Parade, an all-day highlight of the free Comica Comiket from 10.30 to 16.30 at The British Library.


Ian Williams (The Bad Doctor from Myriad)

Comiket, British Library


Andrew Rae (Moonhead and the Music Machine from Nobrow)

Comiket, British Library


Revealing the Real World Through Comics

Loncon, ExCel, Capital Suite  10

June Madeley, Mary Talbot, Dominick Grace, Maura McHugh, Mike Carey

It can be argued that cartoons have a long tradition of grappling with, and commenting on, political and domestic problems through editorial cartoons and illustrated satire.

Yet it's generally considered that the rise of autobiographical comics came about in the 1960s, and has slowly become popular as an means of expression in the intervening decades – especially after Maus won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992.

Why have comic book journalism, graphic memoirs, and tackling social issues through the medium of comic books and cartoons become so popular? What can we reveal about the real through a medium that often uses abstract or surreal images combined with text to tell a story?

And why will they earn awards from the literary scene, when their fictional counterparts rarely get listed?


Asia Alfasi (Best New Manga from Constable & Robinson)

Comiket, British Library


Al Davison (Hokusai Dreams and Muscle Memory from Astral Gypsy)

Comiket, British Library

Noon – 1:30pm

Fresh Perspectives: Comic Books for Young People

Loncon, ExCel, London Suite 3,

Emily Wagner, Inko, Klaus Æ. Mogensen, Smuzz, Cory Doctorow

Children and young people were well catered to for comics during the heyday of the medium, but the last few decades has seen a narrowing of titles aimed at younger audience… until recently.  Are we seeing a new wave of comic books aimed at teens and children? What are the best comic book titles to introduce a new generation to the medium? Is there a fresh perspective sweeping into comics via these titles?

What are the old childhood classics that remain popular, and what are the new stories that will help shape the medium in the 21st century?

And how are new technologies affecting the expectations of this growing audience?

Noon – 1:30pm

Grandville and the Anthropomorphic Tradition

Loncon, ExCel, Second Stage

Bryan Talbot discusses his Grandville graphic novel series of steampunk detective thrillers and the venerable and ongoing tradition of anthropomorphic characters in illustration and comics from which they have grown, pointing out references to this tradition and 19th century art within the Grandville books themselves.


Mark Buckingham (Fables and Dead Boy Detectives from Vertigo)

Comiket, British Library


Francesca Dare (Penny Goodfeather from Sloth Publishing)

Comiket, British Library


Jan Cleijne (Legends of the Tour from Head of Zeus)

Comiket, British Library

1:30pm – 3pm

Old New Classics: The Off-Beat and Indie Comics of Yore

Loncon, ExCel, Capital Suite 14

Scott Edelman, Smuzz, Allan J. Sim, Peter Sutton, Barbara G.Tarn

When people discuss the Golden Age and Silver Age of Comics the conversation is often dominated by the emergence of the superhero in both DC and Marvel in America. However, from its inception comics books were always a fertile breeding ground for fun, weird, and alternative stories from around the world.

1:30pm – 3pm

How to Draw Manga: A Workshop for Young People

Loncon, ExCel, London Suite 3

Get your sharpie and paper ready, as Inko – a celebrated British Mangaka – will demonstrate how to draw the Manga way!

Please note that children will be given priority to participate in this child-friendly session.


Warren Pleece (The Great Unwashed from Escape Books, Alby Figgs from Blank Slate)


Nick Hayes (Rime of the Modern Mariner and Woody Guthrie from Jonathan Cape)


Setting Up Your Comic Book Press: New and Old Models Examined

Loncon, ExCel, Capital Suite 13

Kaja Foglio, Debbie Lynn Smith, Mur Lafferty, CE Murphy, Ian Sharman

A discussion on how setting up a comic book press, or web comic, has never been easier – except for all the drawbacks.

An examination of the various ways to fund, create, and distribute comic books in the 21st century: including Patreon, Kickstarter, ComiXology, web comics, and good old-fashioned print comics.


Emmanuel Guibert (Alan's War, The Photographer and How The World Was from First Second)


Jade Sarson (For The Love Of God, Marie!, Winner of the First Graphic Novel award, forthcoming from Myriad)


From Page to (Small) Screen

Loncon, ExCel, Capital Suite 10

Tanya Brown, Debbie Lynn Smith, Jonathan Clements, Mike Carey, Steve Saffel

We're used to thinking about adaptation in terms of feature films, but increasingly Western SF and fantasy novels and novel series — from True Blood to Game of Thrones, The Expanse to Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell — are being adapted for TV. What are the challenges of this process? Do viewers expect a longer running time to mean a more faithful adaptation? Are there lessons to be learned from, or similarities with, series adaptations in other countries, such as the transition from manga to anime? (Or Western comics to screen, as in the case of The Walking Dead?) And what happens when a series develops a life of its own?

7pm – 8pm

The New Supers: How Superheroes and Superheroines are Changing in Comics

Loncon, ExCel, Capital Suite 13

Mike Carey, Helena Nash, CE Murphy, Sunil Patel, Roz J Kaveney

The superhero and superheroine have been with us since stories were told around the campfire, and were perhaps first depicted on cave walls long before the emergence of written language.

In comic books they appeared as important icons in the twentieth century, yet they have also been open to interpretation, and subversion, since they first began leaping over buildings and lassoing villains.

How have these super-powered fictional characters continued to change and develop at the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first?

With people dressing up and acting as superhumans on the streets, has reality bled too far into fiction? Will the super-powered person remain with us forever, or will we evolve past it?

Sunday 17th

10am – 11am

Vox Populi: the new voice of comic book criticism?

Loncon, ExCel, Capital Suite 3

K. A. Laity, KT Davies, Marcus Gipps, Emmeline Pui Ling Dobson, Didi Chanoch

Anyone with a blog or social media presence can send their opinion directly to comic book creators. How is this affecting comic book criticism?

Is this the death of the old stuffy regime of taste-makers, or the rise of a new type of creative pressure? How is the closer connection between creator and audience affecting the work?

And what happens when the collective force of a fanbase focuses upon 'punishing' critical voices?

11am – 12pm

Writing and Pitching Comics

Loncon, ExCel, Capital Suite 9

Maura McHugh, Paul Cornell, Mike Carey, Mary Talbot, Debbie Lynn Smith

A discussion about creating comic books from the writer's perspective. Breaking into comic book writing can present a unique challenge for new writers, because the route in is usually different than for artists (there are no portfolio reviews for writers).

Then there are basic issues, such as formatting scripts, which aren't even clear-cut.

How do writers craft the pitches that get them jobs as comic book writers? How do they proceed once they get the gig? What's it like to liaise with artists, colourists, letterers, and editors?

What are the joys and perils of collaborating with so many people?


The Great War In Comics

Conference Centre, British Library, £5, (£4 Over 60s) and £3. Book now. Part of the COMICA Festival Weekend.

To End All Wars - artwork by Lizzy Waterhouse

Pat Mills is the author of Charley's War in Battle weekly, illustrated by the remarkable Joe Colquhoun. Mills discusses this collaborative achievement and his new project on the period, Brothers in Arms, drawn by David Hitchcock. He is joined by Karim Iskander Flint and Sarah Jones, contributors to the new anthologies To Arms (Process Comics) and To End All Wars (Soaring Penguin), and Alys Jones, creator of Beyond the Wire from Atlantic Press.

 12pm – 1:30pm

In Space No One Can Hear You Ink: The Best SF Comics

Loncon, ExCel, London Suite 2

Jon Wallace, Adrian (Ade) Brown, Scott Edelman, Sakuya, Phil Foglio

What science fiction comic book titles have expanded the genre, given us gorgeous visuals, and memorable storylines?

How have sf comics developed from Flash Gordon, Dan Dare, Astro Boy, through toAkira, and The Ballad of Halo Jones, and what's currently revving everyone's rocket ship: Saga, Ghost in the Shell, 2000AD, Lazarus, etc.


Sex, Censorship and Sensibility

Conference Centre, British Library, £5, (£4 Over 60s) and £3. Book now. Part of the COMICA Festival Weekend.

Torrid Erotic Art, 1979, (c) Erich von Götha - Robin Ray

Special US guest Charles Brownstein, director of the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund, joins Tim Pilcher, author of Erotic Comics: A Graphic History, and Robin Ray, alias erotic comics maestro Eric Von Gotha, to reflect on the lessons we can learn from past trials, bans and censorship of comics and on the threats to freedoms in publishing today.

1pm – 3pm

Graphic Novel Man: The Comics of Bryan Talbot

Loncon, ExCel, Capital Suite 17

Highlights from a new documentary from Digital Story Engine focusing on the work of our Guest of Honour.  Bryan Talbot will be on hand to introduce the film.


New Voices, New Directions

Conference Centre, British Library. £5, (£4 Over 60s) and £3. Book now. Part of the COMICA Festival Weekend.

Legends of the Tour - artwork by Jan Cleijne

How do you get your own graphic novel off the ground and into print? What's it like to go from solo self-publishing to working with a real editor and publisher? First-time graphic novelists share their secrets and offer advice:Jan Cleijne, creator of the Legends of the TourAndrew Rae, debut author published by Nobrow on Moonhead and the Music MachineJade Sarson, winner of the 2014 Myriad First Graphic Novel Prize; Matilda Tristram, creator of Probably Nothing; and Ian Williams, author of The Bad Doctor.

3pm – 4:30pm

Bryan Talbot: 'How I make a Graphic Novel'

Loncon, ExCel, Capital Suite 7+12

Bryan Talbot takes you through the typical creative process he uses when writing and drawing one of his books from original conception to finished page, covering research, plotting, story structure, scripting, the use of grids, panel transitions, page composition, layout, use of eye level, lettering and colouring.


Draw Misty For Me: Shirley Bellwood

Conference Centre, British Library. £5, (£4 Over 60s) and £3. Book now. Part of the COMICA Festival Weekend.

Misty – 1978 dark female comic book of supernatural and horror stories. Photography (c) British Library Board

For a generation of girls, Misty was the iconic spooky weekly. Its raven-haired hostess was illustrated by Shirley Bellwood, and based on herself. For the first time, Shirley meets her admirers and discusses her work. Joining her arePat Mills, creator and editor of the Misty comic in 1978 and writer of some of its scariest serials, and Dr Julia Round, comics academic and lifelong Misty fan.


Memories and Memoirs: The Graphic Biographies of Emmanuel Guibert

Conference Centre, British Library. £5, (£4 Over 60s) and £3. Book now. Part of the COMICA Festival Weekend.

How the World Was - artwork by Emmanuel Guibert

Things To Do In London In August If You Like Comics

The award-winning Parisian comics creator has transformed two life-changing friendships into remarkable graphic biographies. Guibert recorded hours of the American Alan Cope's experiences in Europe during World War Two and his Californian childhood in 30s Los Angeles. From these, Guibert has crafted Alan's War and his latest book, How The World Was.

The French photographic journalist Didier Lefèvre revealed his gruelling mission to Afghanistan with Doctors without Borders, and his powerful photos, mostly unpublished, uniquely combine with Guibert's drawings in The Photographer. Join Emmanuel Guibert in conversation about these significant graphic biographies.

Monday 18th

Noon – 1:30pm

Comics: The Global Arena

LonCon, ExCel, Capital Suite 15

Helen McCarthy, Klaus Æ. Mogensen, Michael Burianyk, Eric Senabre, Michelle Sagara,Juan Sanmiguel

Comic books have a tremendous audience outside of the English language world, but only a small percentage of those titles are available to the West thanks to a few dedicated publishers (and illicit translations available online).

What are the best foreign titles currently available in English? And what brilliant volumes are to be recommended to non-English readers? What desperately needs to be translated?

1:30pm – 2pm

What Do Artists Do All Day? – Frank Quitely

London, ExCel, Capital Suite 17

Frank Quitely is the alter ego of Glaswegian comic-book artist Vincent Deighan. As one of a group of British writers and artists who have reinvented the superhero genre, Frank's depictions of iconic characters like Superman, Batman and the X-Men have provided inspiration for some of Hollywood's biggest movie franchises.

In this short documentary we follow Frank over the course of a day and night as he works on a single page from his latest work, the epic superhero saga Jupiter's Legacy.

 1:30pm – 3pm

How Digital Art Techniques Have Changed Comics

Loncon, ExCel, Capital Suite 3

Smuzz, Kurt Erichsen, Chris Foss, Raya Golden Alexander, Emmeline Pui Ling Dobson

Technology has had a huge impact upon how artists draw comics, and with tight deadlines many artists work completely digitally. Artists can email/dropbox their artwork directly with their writers, editors, colourists, and letterers without the delays of posting or hand-delivering work. With the many benefits this brings, have there been drawbacks in terms of style and detail?

Have readers and artists noticed a certain similarity in execution emerging in today's comic book art? Are there still techniques that are better suited to pencil and brush? How will technology continue to affect and change how comic books are created?

4:30pm – 5:30pm

Comics Britannia – Anarchy In The UK

Loncon, ExCel, Capital Suite 17

Documentary from 2007 looking at the rise of a new generation of British comics such as Battle, Action, 2000AD, and Warlord, and rise of writers and artists such as Alan Moore, Bryan Talbot, Grant Morrison and Brian Bolland and the trend towards a darker vision of the future in the 70's and 80's, ultimately moving into the 'British Invasion' of American comics.

Thursday 20th, 7pm-9pm

To End All Wars Launch Party

Gosh Comics

To End All Wars book launch Gosh Comics London

2014 marks the centenary of the the First World War; one hundred years have passed but only a handful of comics have recorded the stories and atrocities felt by all nations involved in the world changing conflict. From the trenches to POW camps, from one 'side' to another, To End All Wars "aspires to free WWI from the censorship imposed by London and Berlin before the first man fell, blinkers that still cramp our reading of this holocaust. Offered up by creators working in a medium that was barely a foetus in 1914, it is our humble tribute to the ten million combatants sacrificed… for what?"

Saturday 30th, 11am-6pm

Safari Comics Festival

Protein, 31 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EY

Safari Teaser Flyer

Safari Festival is a celebration of the new wave of alternative and art comics from the UK and beyond. Taking place over one Saturday at the end of August, the festival is an opportunity for a curated group of cartoonists and publishers to exhibit and sell their artwork, prints and, primarily, comics, and for attendees to experience the best of UK comics' avant-garde. The artists exhibiting have been selected for their innovative, fearless, diverse approaches to making comics; approaches to cartooning that Safari intends to champion.

The festival will be free to attend, and will take place at Studio 2, the new Shoreditch gallery space of London-based creative agency, Protein.

Exhibitors include:

Babak Ganjei
Breakdown Press (Connor WillumsenAntoine CosséLandoJoe KesslerZoë Taylor)
Comic Book Slumber Party
Comics Workbook
Decadence Comics
Ditto Press
Donya Todd
Eleni Kalorkoti
Esther McManus
Eyeball Comix
Famicon Express
Faye Coral Johnson
Ferry Gouw
Grace Wilson
Jack Teagle
James Jarvis
Jazz Dad Books
Joseph P Kelly
Landfill Editions
Laura Callaghan
Matt Swan
Mike Redmond
Museums Press/Good Press
Rob Flowers
Sina Sparrow
Space Face Books (JMKE)
Susumu Mukai
Will Sweeney | | @safarifestival |


Antony Johnston signing The Fuse Vol 1 and Umbral Vol 1.

Forbidden Planet


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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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